Megan Laudenschlager is the Founder and Executive Director of Strengthen ND. Ms. Laudenschlager is a 2014 Bush Foundation Fellow, 2020 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Social Impact Strategy, and an alumnus of the Harvard-Kennedy School of Government’s Leadership in the 21st Century Program and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana State University. Ms. Laudenschlager currently holds several state-based and national positions related to rural placemaking and development, including positions on the North Dakota Council on the Arts Board of Directors, North Dakota Economic Development Foundation Board of Directors, North Dakota Rural Development Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts’ Steering Committee, which provides guidance to the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD).
Resource & Research VISTA
Cher Hersrud has worked with rural communities and nonprofit organizations for more than 30 years. Funded by the Bremer Trust, she traveled across North Dakota for 10 years to provide capacity building services. Additionally, she worked for several nonprofit organizations, including Plains Art Museum, NDSU Development Foundation, and the FM Area Foundation. In her “retirement,” she is working to support Strengthen ND as an AmeriCorps VISTA.
Indigenous Communications & Tribal Advocate
Stacey LaCompte has worked across the Dakotas in economic and community development for more than two decades. Stacey’s previous experience includes supporting the establishment of Wakpasica in Rapid City, SD and directing the North Dakota Indian Business Alliance in Bismarck, ND. Through Stacey’s work as the Indigenous Communications & Tribal Advocate at Strengthen ND, she will continue her work to build community across North Dakota.
Director of Nonprofit Education
Nancy Heskin-Rakness brings more than 25 years of experience as a leader within the nonprofit sector, including experience in fundraising, grant administration, human resources, fiscal management, and community engagement and outreach. Nancy leads the development of tools and curricula for Strengthen ND’s Nonprofit Certificate Program.